Summer has officially arrived and all members of the family, including the four-legged variety, will be spending more time outdoors soaking up the sunshine. However, pesky pests such as ticks, fleas and mosquitoes can quickly ruin a warm-weather day, especially for pets such as dogs and cats that can’t quite protect themselves the same way people do.
Each of these pests poses different dangers for furry family members, but by employing some key prevention tips, owners can ensure their animals stay pest-free this summer.
Whether hiking in the woods or simply enjoying a barbeque in the park, people and animals are likely to encounter these bloodthirsty pests during the warmer months. Ticks pose a number of health threats as they can transmit serious diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and “tick paralysis” among others. While some symptoms can surface immediately after a tick bite, others can be difficult to recognize and many owners may not realize their pet is sick until the symptoms become severe and significant treatment is needed.
- Upon returning indoors, inspect dogs and outdoor cats thoroughly.
- If a tick is found attached, it should be removed with a slow, steady pull so as not to break off the mouthparts and leave them in the skin. If possible, it’s best to use forceps or tweezers and grab on or just behind the mouthparts. If using fingers, the fingernails of the thumb and forefinger should be placed on or just behind the mouthparts. Once removed, flush the tick down the toilet or wrap it tightly in tissue before disposing in a closed receptacle since ticks are difficult to smush. Then, wash hands and the attachment site thoroughly with soap and water.
- Keep grass cut low, including around fence lines, sheds, trees, shrubs, swing sets and other difficult to cut locations and remove weeds, woodpiles and other debris from the yard.
- Inquire about lawn tick treatments; especially those that focus on the edges of the lawn where it interfaces with natural areas. This method has the greatest chance of preventing ticks from establishing themselves in your back yard.
- Speak to a veterinarian about tick collars and medications. Only 35 percent of respondents ensure pets have preventative tick treatments.